The Air Force’s three top acquisition priorities—fielding the F-35 strike fighter, KC-46A tanker, and Long Range Strike Bomber—”seem like the correct programs to me at this point,” Air Force Secretary nominee Deborah James told lawmakers last week. “Based on what I know about those three top priorities, it seems right to me, based on the strategy that we are pursuing, based on the thrust of the rebalance to the Pacific,” James told the Senate Armed Services Committee during her Sept. 19 confirmation hearing. “You need longer range, we need more bomber forces. It’s important for the [nuclear] triad and so forth,” she said. (James written responses to advance questions) (For more coverage of James’ confirmation hearing, see An Advocate for the F-35.)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.